What makes a community a community?
We’ve explored this question time and time again with both our partners and ourselves. And the responses never seem to end.
Is it quality schools? Successful businesses? Neighbors who bring you tomatoes from their backyard garden?
Or does a community become a community when we can have tough conversations with each other?
Or when we create something beautiful together?
As we were working on conference details for a client, something didn’t feel quite right. I knew there was something that the client wanted to change from the previous year’s event. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember exactly what it was. (In my defense, it had been over a year since we had planned that particular conference. That’s a long time to remember things!)
Thankfully, I knew exactly where I could find what I needed. The detail was included in our post activity report, also known as the PAR.
It's not always easy to see things from someone else's perspective. And, yet, this is the first step in showing empathy.
Empathy requires effort. It requires that we set aside our own biases and listen – really listen.
At Reach Partners we work hard at understanding the perspectives of others. We also look for ways others show empathy. Here are some examples we've found and experienced:
If you’ve ever been asked to take minutes at a meeting and cringed, you’re not alone.
When you’re designated the minute taker, it can feel daunting and overwhelming. How detailed do you need to be? Will you capture everything that needs to be documented?
There’s no need to fret. Taking minutes isn’t as difficult as we think it should be. And it provides a crucial service to make sure activity doesn’t stop when the meeting is over.
Simply defined, meeting minutes are a written record of what happened.
We want to be the best human beings we can be. We strive to be transformed, so we read.
We read books about leadership, personal growth, and business. We appreciate lovely fiction and poetry. We read because it’s one way we can grow and empathize with others, to see the world and our actions from a different point of view.
Essentially, we read to be better human beings who will do good work with other good humans.
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism (which we’ve benefited from) remind us that there is still much more we need to learn and understand. More than ever, we need to keep listening and learning from our Black friends, partners and neighbors.
Whenever we plan an event, an in-depth meeting, a social gathering, or virtual experience Reach Partners will always argue for the same thing. Every time.
This thing is the most important detail for every planned interaction. It is the life blood of our work and what drives us to do better every day. Most importantly it’s the power, the energy that fuels the work at hand.
How do you tap into this energy? How do you make it work for you? Draw the right audience? Craft the right marketing activities? Align stakeholders? Create value?
You start by defining purpose.
Even in the best of times, work can be confusing. Efforts can be duplicated, messages mixed, and (wrong) assumptions made. Signals get crossed and, inevitably, something falls through the cracks.
When we’re adjusting to chaos, those challenges are amplified. Let’s face it, these recent days of working from home with new “coworkers” and in less-than-ideal settings can make everything feel difficult. It takes more coordination and communication to make sure good work happens. In short, it takes clarity.
We should seek clarity even when our projects and work world haven’t been turned upside down. Lack of clarity at any time often leads to confusion and, subsequently, disarray.
Project managers are good at risk management.
One of the things we do is identify what we can’t control and then find solutions or actions to mitigate these things. Typically, this means we’re thinking through things like potentially bad weather affecting an outdoor event or how to contain a protester at a women’s event.
These types of risk management plans are appropriate, necessary, and responsible.
And then along came the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not going to lie – this challenges even those of us who spend a lot of time identifying and planning for risks.
In the upper Midwest, February can be a tough month. Winter has worn out its welcome and spring doesn't dare reveal its promise. The days are longer, but sub-zero temps are still possible. Even the snow looks tired.
And yet, we are reminded that beauty still exists. After all, beauty is more than a visual aesthetic, it's an attitude. Wherever we are, whatever the season, we search for beauty all year long.
From the exquisite gala to the unglamorous gathering, we spend a lot of time at Reach Partners researching and thinking about the unsung aspects of events.
One question we ask every single time we design an event is essential. Why will (or should) a person attend the event? Time is a rare and limited resource. If we want someone to spend precious minutes at our gathering or get-together, we better understand and communicate why they should do so.
At Reach, we always stress that purpose is the driver for any event. When that purpose is well defined, creatively and accurately articulated, it informs the language we use for everything else. It becomes part of the call to action – what we want our attendees to do.